(Dance with the Devil)
– – –
– Emily point of view. Kota was an evil man. –
I ran through Terra town. I ran and ran and ran, I was entering the grocery in a hurry while catching my breath.
“Welcome-Oh… Emily-chan come again?”
“Don’t Emily-chan me! I’ve heard it!”
“… What are you saying?”
“Money! I’ve heard that you borrowed money!”
I said those words while still smiling, albeit a bit distorted.
“Hehehe… I see, so you already found out? That’s right! I borrowed three hundred pieces of white gold coins!”
Hearing the shop owner words, my field of vision went dark. Three hundred white gold coins…!
“How are you planning on returning that amount of money?!”
“What do you mean, how? Of course by selling vegetables, no? I’m a grocery shop owner you know?”
Hearing that, I took a glance at the thick cucumber shown on the display shelf. This is…
“This is Bitter Melon, isn’t it?”
“Oh! You know it? That’s right, this is Bitter Melon. It seems the bitter taste is the selling point you know?”
“Of course I know! This item is sold in the commercial area’s shop! And yet…”
Accidentally I was looking at the price tag– This price!
“It is double than the one sold in the commercial area’s shop!”
“Of course, there’s no other way is there? After all, I have no big merchant acquaintance who sold such a rare product. That’s why, I bought it from the commercial district, and then, you know…”
“No way… You sold goods which you bought from your rival store?!”
… I felt dizzy the moment I found out about that. It was not even funny that he bought items from his rival’s store and even sold it again at twice the price.
“As I said, don’t worry! The people were going to the commercial district because they could not find the product they wanted in my store! I believe they will buy it in my store now even if it was more expensive a little bit. If they are Terra people, then they will buy it from a merchant of Terra. Such a thing won’t change even from the era of my grandfather…”
When he said that, everything felt blank.
Looking at the shop owner that say those words as if it was nothing, everything feels come crashing down…
“… Don’t be naive! It won’t go that easy!”
“It won’t! Shop owner, you’ve made this land and shop as the collateral you know?! Such a naive outlook… What are you going to do if you really lost the shop!”
“You’re really such a worrywart aren’t you, Emily-chan… It is okay I said… See, Emily-chan. I’m going to pay the three hundred white gold coins by next month!”
Listening to him saying that, I could not say anything anymore. I could only pray to god that everything was going to be fine.
“… The site is ready.”
… One month later.
“The merchant from Daiotsu would come to visit Terra soon. Erika-san, please notify them…”
… I was walking along behind Matsushiro-sama, together with men with big bodies holding a mallet in their hands.
“W-Who are you guys?! What business do you have with me?!”
Seeing such a bunch of people standing in front of his store, the shop owner did his best to put out bravado… Looking at him, somehow, it was very sad…
“… I come here to ask you to pay the money back. Originally, the repayment date should be yesterday. Pay the money you owe, three hundred white gold coins. The interest is three pieces of white good coins. 303 in total, I won’t ask you to pay overdue interest, but could you payback everything now?”
“M-Money? A-Ah! Money, right! A-About that, I will definitely pay it!”
“Is that so? Are you going to pay it using certificate? Or normal coins? I’m fine with either of them…”
“W-Well, N-No, you see I will definitely pay it back, b-but… I don’t have them right now! One month! I will pay it next month! W-Wha?! Wait a moment please!”
“… You’ve promised me that you would pay it back today no?”
“No, well, I know that… I know that, but I need this! You understand right?! I also have a family…”
“… Please, Understand…”
“W-What’s with your stare?! I can’t help it can’t I?! What’s with that arrogant behavior of yours?!”
The shop owner suddenly snapped. Even though he was unable to pay the money, he even have the gal to make it sound like it would be bad for us even to wait for him to pay…
“… In other words, you cannot pay me today?”
When Matsushiro-sama said that, relief could be seen on the shop owner face.
“… Then I will enforce the contract.”
… In that moment…
“Y-You bastard! What are you doing?! O-Oi! Wait!”
The men with mallets in their hands began to enter the store.
The men with the mallets raised their hand in silent. Then they swung it down and began destroying the store. Along with loud sounds and the scream of the shop owner, the grocery shop started to get demolished.
“Please stop it! Quit it!”
The sound of the shop destruction continues being resounded. The shop owner tried to cling on one of the men to stop him, but he was being thrown off…
“O-Oi! What are you thinking?! This is my shop you know?!”
This time, the shop owner cling on Matsushiro-sama. Then Matsushiro-sama gazed down at such shop owner with cold eyes.
“No. This is not your store anymore. Despite having the repayment date passed, you didn’t pay the money you owe. It is written in the contract, no? At this point, this is no longer, your store…”
“O-One day! Please, give me one more day!”
“No. Besides, in the first place, you said: “I will return the money next month.” You cannot even return it in one month, and you expect me to believe you can return it in a day?”
“T-The sales will raise up! I will pay the debt with that money!”
“That is just your daydream.”
“D-Daydream you said?!”
“I lent three hundred white gold coins last month. What you’ve been doing with that in the past one month? You stock up new vegetables. Then? Did you advertise them loudly? Did you try to find out a way to buy the vegetables cheaply? Did you try to change the store layout to make it more interesting? You don’t, no? You just stock up new vegetables, line them up and wait for customers to come. Did you think with just that people would come and buy?”
“I-I was going to do what you’re saying now!”
“… Ho hou… Then how are you going to change the vegetable freshness? Are you going to advertise ‘In my store, I sold rotten vegetables!’, something like that?”
“Rotten you say?! You bastard did you just said that the goods in my store rotten?!”
“I’m not calling them rotten…”
— He took a deep breath.
“I said that, as a fact, that everything here is ‘rotten’…”
After a few seconds, he said that…
The shop owner tried to attack Matsushiro-sama. The master attempted to hit Matsushiro-sama in anger along with bloodshot eyes.
“… That’s enough.”
Emotionally, I might want him to actually did it. However, I was a maid that serve Erika-sama. Guest of the lord must be protected.
“L-Let me go! Let me go! You demon, I will kill you!”
“… Calm down!”
“Calm down you said? Emily-chan let me go!”
“… I’m sorry.”
“What’s wrong with you guys? What did I do? I didn’t do anything! Why did you take my store?!”
The shop owner who was rampaging in my arms began to lose power. His yelling voice had turned into sobbing.
“Just as you said…”
“You didn’t do anything. You go against the flow of time, defy the tides of times, you didn’t even put an effort to grasp the flow and swim along…”
…Saying that he continued…
“… You do not have the qualification to cry in this place. Only those who have put effort are allowed and have the privilege to cry.”
His words were merciless…
Only the cry of the shop owner and the sound of the shop destruction echoing in the town that day…
I threw the bag I had with me and lay down on the bad, as I gaze on the ceiling, my mind began to wander…
“You demon! You demon minion!”
I could hear clearly the voice full of resentment of the shop owner. The demon he said… Demon minion he said…
“… Demon huh?”
I see… I was a demon.
For money… For the sake of Rondo the Terra, I’ve broken the life of the people who lived here…
“… But if I’m the demon then, Matsushiro-sama would be the demon lord.”
Rondo de Terra itself was indeed had become wealthy. The development turned Terra into a prosperous place that no one could imagine before. That in itself was good. – Or so that was supposed to be…
… Was Terra this kind of town?
Certainly, back then, there were many vacant lands. But now, the number of children’s playground had disappeared.
Certainly, the streets were full of vigor. However, the smile had disappeared from everyone’s face.
Certainly, people’s wealth was increasing…
In exchange for that, would the ‘warmth’ disappear from the people’s heart?
We were poor indeed. Sure life was painful, but everyone was supporting each other, live by helping each other in this city… Certainly, it was painful, but back then, people were smiling… But in Terra, even with just a small ‘happiness,’ we’re satisfied…
Where everyone was getting along with each other.
Even if I think about it now, it won’t change anything, there was no going back, I cannot turn back to those days anymore…
It was hard, painful, poor… Still, those days were shining brilliantly…
“… Right, I cannot turn back.”
Of course, thinking that, I felt lonely… It was hard, it was sad, it was hurt… Just, what am I doing? Was it really the right choice to break someone’s life, taking it from them, steal it…
“Pardon me for the intrusion~.”
Turning my gaze toward the voice, I was surprised at the person standing on the door.
“The right one is Maria-san! Well-well, what’s going on Emily-san? What’s up with that gloomy face of yours?”
Was something funny? Looking at her smiling face, it made me felt irrigated due to the frustration inside my heart.
“… What can I do for you?”
“Uwah, scarry! What’s wrong with that scary face? It ruined your beauty you know?”
“… Leave me alone.”
“Well, that’s not going to happen. Emily-san, do you know how long you’ve been inside your room?”
When I realized, I turned my gaze at the windows. When I came back into my room, the sun was about to set.
“T-This is bad! I need to make dinner–”
“I’ve already prepared that…”
“Since Emily-san seems to have locked herself inside her room, It was decided that I would be the one who made dinner.”‘
‘This is Sorbania specialty, the Maria Search special!’, with shining eyes and smile on her face, Maria bragged about the food she had made. Eh?
“Emm, why Maria-sama?”
“As thanks… You see, Kota-han has introduced me to a good property.”
“That’s right. You know, that Daiotsu Firm wanted some land! There Kota-han introduce me to a good property!”
“… Matsushiro-sama is?
… What’s going on?”
“Because it was a good property, I said to him that I would buy it. I bought it from him for 1500 white gold coins, but the value should be higher than that… When I sell them to Daiotsu Firm for 2000 white gold coins, they immediately bought it. I manage to profit 500 white gold coins in just two hours you know? What a good business…”
“… Do you know the funny part? Kota-han, after took 500 white gold coins from the 1500 white gold coins, he told me to give the rest to the master of the grocery store… I saw the grocery store crying in tears when he receives it…”
… Wait wait wait! What do you mean? What the hell was going on here?”
“Oh right. That grocery store owner, he told me to tell you something… He wanted to apologize to you he said… Huh? Emily-san?! Where are you going? How about the food? My special cooking?!”
I ran out before Maria-sama ended her talk.
“Emily-saaaaaaan~, Come baaaaack~” <TLN: She did use English.>
I rushed out without stopping…
“… Emily-san? What’s wrong? Why in such a hurry?”
I opened the door of Matsuhsiro-sama’s office with a bang and jumped into the room. I sat on the chair in front of the desk, on the opposite side, Matsushiro-sama looked at me with a surprised look.
“Emm, Emily-san? What’s wrong? Why the scary face? Did I do something wrong to you?”
“… The Land.”
“Don’t joke with me! What I’m talking about is the land you got from the grocery store owner… It was sold to Maria-sama!”
Hearing my words, Matsushiro-sama face turn distorted.
“…You’ve heard it already?”
“Yes, I did! I heard it! Why?! Why did you sell the land to Maria-sama?! It was the land you got after much trouble, after tearing down that store as well, why?!”
… Why did you give the money to the store owner…?
“… This is difficult to answer.”
“This is the so-called profit distribution, a hedging repetition risk, or escape of guilt… But the most popular word for it is ‘hypocrisy.'”
“… Are you an idiot?”
I can feel my anger rising. When I was like that, it was Matsushiro-sama turn to look at me with a serious face.
“The price of land in this place would go up even more. If people found out that I got that land for a mere 300 piece of white gold coins, it would disturb the entire land price. And likewise, the Lord of Terra earned the reputation of driving people out, it would cause more hindrance.
“… Then, what about the Guilt and Hypocrisy?”
“… I’m a human being too…”
After saying that words, he sighed.
“… Emily-san, I knew you feel burdened by the land acquisition. Despite I knew that I have no other people to rely on… Without you, I won’t be able to purchase the land, and Erika-san reputation would fell. Emily-san, if I could not convince you, there would be no development here…”
I was really thankful that you were here… That’s why I did that for my atonement toward you, he said…<TLN: About returning the 1000 white gold coins>
“… I don’t understand.”
Saying that I lowered my head…
“… I don’t know if the development of Terra right now is good or not…”
… I, didn’t know…
“After all, we’ve destroyed people life! Destroying the place that was filled with the memory of their families…”
Such a place was hard to be replaced…
“… Can Terra develop without having to destroy something?”
My gaze began to blur…
Some time passed before Matsushiro-sama opened his mouth.
“… For me, I’ve prepared myself.”
Unexpectedly, Matsushiro-sama speaks with a clear voice.
“I’ve prepared myself, that I would even kick people out if it means for Terra sake. I’ve prepared myself that I would rebuild Terra finance even if I have to break the residents live. Destroying the homes, land filled with precious memory, bending the nature and be covered in dirt…”
For future generations…
… No. For those who lived in this world, the determination to accomplish it even if he had to be called ‘The demon’ or ‘the Demon King’…
“… That’s why I won’t compromise. And I won’t stop. I don’t care how much notoriety I got… If I stop, if I compromise…”
… That would be the greatest insult to the people lives I’ve had come to destroy.
“That’s why, Emily-san, no matter what you say, I won’t stop. I will do everything with all my might.”
After saying that, as always… Matsushiro-sama would smile while looking a little sad.
“… Does that mean I was lacking ‘determination’?”
“… I cannot answer that for you. Nobody wanted bad publicity… But if I have to say it, I’m an outsider after all… It would be obvious that I have a different point of view compared to Emily-san who had lived here for long…”
That was why… You could choose the path sided with the ‘people’… That was what he said…
When I heard he said that, I finally understand.
He was a summoned Hero.
Although he didn’t want it, he comes to Terra, and ended up being called “The Demon.”
He comes to this world alone, this demon lord.
“… I understand.”
… This demon who was guilty of guilt, and pretending to be a hypocrite.
“What did you come to understand?”
While introducing himself as the Demon Lord… I was sure, no one was kinder than he, no one was gentler than he.
“… I’m Determined.”
… No matter how hard I think about it, there was no going back.
… I cannot turn back to those days.
To the days that was shining despite the hardship.
“… What I lacked was determination.”
What I’m lacking was ‘determination.’
Thinking the days that passed, one should not shed tears.
One should walk ahead with a smile toward the ‘new’ world.
“… I’ve determined myself.”
… That I would dance, with this ‘gentle Demon King.’
“… You don’t have to overdo it you know?”
“I’m not overdoing myself.”
… I will dance with the demon king.
Together with the gentle demon king, let us break the old world and dance through the new world.
Being despised by the world, being scorned as Demon King.
“… Even so, I will continue to be by your side.”
… I will dance with you.
“I won’t let you be despised alone.”
Being despised from all people, being scorned as Demon King, but on the other side, extended one hand to help the people in need.
“In the future, please continue to guide and encourage me.”
Thank you, Kota-sama.
I wonder, why my heart beat so fast when I said those words.
Economic Meme Knowledge 7
Shutter Shopping Streets.
Due to the raising of the suburban supermarket. The streets where many shops were closing was called the Shutter Streets. Of course, no one was actually complaining, the supermarkets had it own perk, such as more convenient, cleaner, and usually filled with more goods. I wonder, was there no way for co-existence?